January 4, 2008, Newsletter Issue #177: Helmet Components

Tip of the Week

From the outside, a ski helmet simply looks like some sort of plastic headgear. However, the inner components of a ski helmet give a whole new meaning to the phrase, "it's what's inside that counts."

That being said, let's begin our exploration of the components of a ski helmet from it's innermost layer.
In most cases, this will be composed of polyurethane foam, which has been treated with some sort of antibacterial agent. Some helmets add a hypoallergenic treatment. This foam also undergoes a specialized anatomic shaping, in order to compensate for slight variations of head shape. The shaping is designed to provide ventilation at the ears.The middle layer of most ski helmets is composed of polystyrene foam, which has been scientifically formulated to absorb shock in the event of impact. Finally, layering alternate sheets of carbon and fiber is the method that is used to create the outer shell of a ski helmet.

The two other important components of a ski helmet are the chinstrap and the attachment for your ski goggles. In recent years, manufacturers have developed padded chinstraps, which are a lot more comfortable than traditional straps. The goggle attachment is a very important feature. While most modern ski helmets have them, older ones do not. Recently, manufacturers have created ski helmets that come with a visor. This is the best of both worlds, since you do not have to worry about fitting your goggles with your helmet.

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